|The Uber Rock Singles Club|
|Written by Johnny H|
|Sunday, 26 August 2012 04:15|
With the August bank holiday here in the UK once again upon us, and the last few remaining open air music festivals within that now over saturated marketplace playing out their last few muddy experiences for those brave enough to venture into a field, you'll forgive me if I instead open up my hi-fi cabinet and take a look at the latest slabs of vinyl that have either been sent to us here at URHQ to review or I have picked up along the way on my travels recently. So why don't you join me for a few minutes of reading (no not Reading) and possibly discover something new and exciting to tickle your musical taste buds without the fear of either getting soaked to the skin or having to pay £4.50 for a cup of carbonated piss water in the process.
So kicking off this latest instalment of The Uber Rock Singles Club we have a mighty fine four track EP from Danish all girl trio The Felines, released on 7" and download via Dirty Water Records. If you are looking for the perfect garage punk pop soundtrack to a beautiful sunny day then you need look no further than 'Black Joe' on the flip of this 7", sounding like it does as if Debbie Harry has just stepped into a time machine and whizzed back to the early 1960's to join The Trashmen. There is a wonderful buzz of electricity around the simplicity of The Felines music that will definitely appeal to people who dig John Otway and Wilko Johnson (especially on tracks 'Boots' and 'Daddy Walk'), whilst 'The Sneak' at almost 3 minutes long (which is prog length to this outfit) sees the girls venture off in a more Link Wray/ Mars Attacks approved direction. This really is the ideal 7" to get any party started this weekend (and hence why I chose to start with it here), so pop it on your turntable and you'll be doing the Batusi before you know it.
Keeping things very much in the Blondie groove is this new 7" from Leeds punkers the Cyanide Pills. Going by the title of 'Where Did It Go?' this beauty is pressed up on Damaged Goods on some fetching half blue/half white vinyl with both tracks contained on this release being exclusive to this mega limited pressing. The boys have certainly sharpened up their songwriting pencils of late bringing in more of a powerpop sound to the A Side which actually gives it a Chris Stein/Clem Burke/Nigel Harrison tone and drive in the guitars/rhythm department, whilst on the B side 'Lock Up' the reggae/dub undertones once again bring the Union City Bluesters to mind perhaps for the obvious reasons this time. Cyanide Pills were undoubtedly one of the highlights for me at this years Rebellion festival and with this release they could very likely win quite a few new fans with their sideways move away from their normally more straight ahead buzz saw pop/punk approach. In fact the more I play it the more I'm convinced this B-side really could be a crossover hit in the making.
Talking of all things saws and cutting, next up we have Exit_International and their four track 'Chainsaw Song' EP released on red vinyl; via Undergroove Records. Now this release has been getting quite a lot of attention in the press due to the fact that Ginger Wildheart plays guitar and sings on a remodelled version of 'Glory Horn' also contained on the A side of this single. But I have to admit though as a fan of both E_I and Ginger whilst this is a nice to have curio, what really has got my interest up with this release is the inclusion of two previously unreleased tracks on the B side, namely 'Queen Of The Flunkies' (which is a new track complete with a Beatles lyrical/melody lift just waiting for a lawsuit) and 'Widowmaker' (an older tune dusted off just for this single). So if any diehard Ginger fans out there yet to hear E_I do pick this 7" up, please guys and gals don't just play 'Glory Horn' and leave the other tracks unplayed, because you really will be missing out on something very special indeed. I mean if Ginger likes this band they've gotta be better than 99% of the shit you find in K****ng! these days, don't ya reckon?
With that in mind, a band I would stake my mortgage on not featuring in the mainstream UK music press anytime soon are The Dancers and their all new 4 tracker pressed up on virgin white vinyl and released via Veniceisdead Records. Having really dug (fuck I sound old saying that -I'll be saying fab next) their fab (see) self titled single reviewed in a previous Singles Club, this is basically more of the same, garage punk shot through with a healthy dose of early Hives but this time around we get some hugely infectious NYC influenced vocal melodies like on lead cut 'The Box'. This Italian trio really do like to keep things short and sweet so don't expect anything other than a quickie off the wrist when they come to London for 3 shows this October, I just wish I lived a little bit nearer so I could catch one of them as I reckon they will be a total fucking blast in a live setting. Have I got you interested yet?
For regular followers of The Uber Rock Singles Club you will no doubt by now be wondering just where the latest releases from The Old Firm Casuals are this time around? Well not being a band to disappoint us, Lars Frederiksen and his mob have once again gone and released two new 7" platters in the short time since I last penned this column (with another split already in the pipeline via Pirate's Press too I might add). This time around Randle Records may be billing each of these split releases with A sides from Evil Conduct and Klasse Kriminale respectively, with The Casuals bringing up the rear (so to speak) on the flip sides on each release, but we all know why collectors will be hovering around these 7"ers, don't we?
So first out of the vinyl mailer we have 'Oi Rules....OK' with Dutch skins Evil Conduct playing out a spit and sawdust anthem going by the title of 'Working Class Hero'. Whilst this might not be the most original track out there at the moment it is credit to the trio that they actually manage to sound more British than many bands based here do right now. It is however to Evil Conduct's detriment that when you flip this single over that you then get The Old Firm Casuals rampaging through 'For The Love Of It All' like a pack of feedback frenzied rabid dogs, thus making the A side in the case sound sadly quite superficial when stacked up alongside the AA side. Look I know these releases are not meant to be lessons in one-upmanship but you cannot help but make direct comparisons when The Casuals effectively slam one of their best songs to date down as a musical trump card and say "follow that".
So can Italian skinheads Klasse Kriminale do any better with their 'Stesso Sangue' split I wonder? Well in spite of the Kriminale gang being around since 1985 I have to admit that this band from Liguria were effectively an unknown entity to me before this release, so I really wasn't holding out that much hope for them in terms of matching The Old Firm Casuals. However with the two tracks they offer up on this EP namely 'Davide' and 'La Ragazza Dalla T-Shirt Degli Angelic Upstarts', they most certainly deliver a watertight case in their musical defence. Perhaps it's that they sing in their native tongue or perhaps it's the fact that a good song is a good song in whatever language it's sung in, its just that I find I have an immediate connection with Klasse Kriminale and their music. Especially on the latter of the two songs, which is enough for me to immediately start trawling the Internet looking for more of their extensive back catalogue. So, with this in mind the tracks from The Old Firm Casuals on 'Stesso Sangue' don't quite jump out and bite me as much as on the other 7", that's not to say they are not as good songs, no they are fucking excellent, and the singalong button is definitely pushed for both 'Rat Race' and 'Red White & Blue', it's just that I really do want to know more about that girl with the Angelic Upstarts T-shirt and thankfully it's just a quick flip of this single and a quick read of the translated lyric sheet away. Congratulazioni a Klasse Kriminale.
Moving swiftly on from a band that can't seem to stop releasing new material to a band that can't seem to stop having their material re-released. This picture disc was recently released via Universal's Music online store to loosely tie in with the great Jubliee/Olympics hooray here in the UK. It's basically a straight reissue of the Sex Pistols 'Pretty Vacant' 7" (b/w 'No Fun') but containing a variation of the original graphic to make saddo collectors like me go out and buy it. Limited to only 3,500 pieces just like the Record Store Day version of 'Anarchy In the UK', this item has already sold out both physically and metaphorically (sorry I couldn't help myself there). So why am I mentioning it here if you can't actually buy it anymore? Well up next month UMC issue something they are calling a "Super Deluxe" box set version of 'Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols" along with a double coloured vinyl version of the same album (the latter limited to just 1,977 copies)...so if like me you want to spunk (geddit) your money away on stuff like this here is a gentle reminder to you all. That's because once these releases do sell out they will no doubt end up commanding a Queen's ransom on the likes of Ebay etc. So be quick...
Finishing off this edition of The Uber Rock Singles Club we have two curios that do slightly bend the rules, the first because it is quite possibly the worlds first 7" and CD EP and the second because it is an LP and we don't normally review those here, but what the heck eh - we make the rules to be broken anyway. So, let's start with my death deck silenced for a minute or two as I pop on the CD part of the EP going by the title of 'Play Me' from Swedish four piece The Stuff. Almost anything originating from the spiritual home of sleazy punk rock gets an immediate thumbs up in the H Bomb household and I'm delighted to say that with this release Ill Wind Records not only continues the country's fine legacy for producing quality music but also has something quite unique sound wise in this bunch. Let me explain how this release works though, because the 7" part of this EP gives you the first 4 tracks played out in standard A and B side format whilst side C is the CD adding 2 further tracks whilst playing back sides B and A in reverse track order. A novel concept indeed and thankfully because The Stuff also write some hooky as hell pop/rock songs it works very well indeed, and by mixing things up a bit it certainly keeps you the listener on your toes. So what do The Stuff actually sound like then? Well the band cite amongst others Blur, Weezer and "boats" amongst their influences and whilst singer Magnus Borg might have a little Damon Albarn in his voice I can't help but keep thinking of what Division Of Laura Lee used to do to me when they first erupted onto the Scando scene back in the early Noughties. There is a little glam here, some art rock there, but it all comes together in one cohesive package that I recommend everyone who loves great rock music with something just a little bit different about it go out and buy. Honestly if I could give one release from this bunch one of our Uber Rock Approved seals then it would be this one. Superb stuff!
As mentioned earlier I'm cheating a bit including this last release as it's actually an LP, but where else on planet Uber Rock would I have such a captive audience who would truly understand the delights of 180gm splatter vinyl? Especially when said vinyl also contains the music of Washington D.C's finest hardcore band Bad Brains.
Released via MVD Audio this LP really is a work of vinyl art, it actually looks so good you feel nervous about dropping your needle on the bugger, however once you do commit to playing it what you get in return is some of the best material culled from over 4 hours worth of music captured during 3 Christmas shows back in 1982 (at New York's CBGB's obviously). Okay so the sound quality dips in and out, but what matters here is the energy that gushes out of the speakers as we experience HR and his troops in full flow. If you ever have reason to question just how influential this band were in the evolution of popular music I would suggest you take a listen to tracks like 'FVK' and 'Rally Round Jah's Throne' (both live versions contained here being exclusive to this release) and tell me you can't hear the likes of Skindred and Fishbone within the grooves. Go on I dare you!
It is a bit odd that 'Pay To Cum' isn't included here (it wasn't on the CD release either though cum to think of it), but when you have the likes of 'Banned In DC' and 'The Regulator' to take your mind off this point, it really is only just a minor niggle. You know everything about this release reminds me of why I first got me into collecting vinyl in the beginning, and that is why it's also such a perfect place for me to sign off this edition of The Uber Rock Singles Club.
Until the next time folks - keep your needles on those records!